Following another less than stellar cup tie, Manchester United finally managed to put Wolverhampton Wanderers away with a narrow 1-0 win at Old Trafford to edge their way into the fourth round of the FA Cup.
An odd evening
It was another tense night of FA Cup action with both teams putting out relatively strong sides in an attempt to reach the final 32 of the competition. Following a bright opening from United it looked like the visitors had taken the lead against the run of play when Pedro Neto took advantage of a mistake from Fred to open the scoring. Alas, following a check from VAR, the goal was overturned due to an accidental handball from Raul Jimenez in the build-up.
Despite having a few flurries after that in the first half it never really felt like Wolves took the game by the scruff of the neck as they probably should’ve done. Instead, United slowly but surely built their way into the game, and in the 67th minute a nice through ball from Anthony Martial set Juan Mata off to the races – and the Spaniard didn’t disappoint by chipping the ball over John Ruddy and into the back of the net.
One step closer to Wembley
Wolves attempted to push forward late in the game but they didn’t seem to have the sort of attacking incentive that they usually do. That could be an indication that they were already looking ahead to a busy period in the next few months as they attempt to progress in the Europa League and also keep their push for the top six going strong in the Premier League.
While United will have one eye on the Watford vs Tranmere Rovers replay, they’ll also be well aware of the fact that they have a huge trip to Anfield coming up this weekend as they try and bring their rivals’ unbeaten run in the Premier League to an end. Wolves, on the other hand, will have their hands full against Southampton in the sort of game that could continue to push the idea that they desperately need to strengthen before the January transfer window comes to an end.
Manchester United: Romero (7), Wan-Bissaka (6), Lindelof (7), Maguire (6.5), Williams (7.5), Fred (5.5), Matic (6), Mata (8), James (6.5), Greenwood (5.5), Martial (7), Pereira (5.5), Lingard (6), Rashford (6)
Wolves: Ruddy (7.5), Dendocker (6), Coady (6.5), Saiss (7), Doherty (6.5), Neves (6), Moutinho (7), Jonny (6), Neto (6.5), Jimenez (6.5), Traore (7), Gibbs-White (6), Vinagre (6), Burr (6)
Referee: Kevin Friend
Yellow Cards: Maguire, Fred, Dendoncker, Neto
Red Cards: N/A
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